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Christmas started early for us this year. We attended the opening show for Junior Claus and were treated to a charming story about the young Junior Claus who is Santa’s son. He tries to save Christmas from being ruined forever by Grumpo the greedy elf who took control of Santa’s workshop after Santa fell into a deep sleep due to the Belief-o-Meter falling to dangerously low levels.

Junior Claus_MAIN VISUAL

It felt good listening to the Christmas songs piped into the theatre before the show started, and I thought it was especially important for our particular show since it was (and still is) a long way from Christmas. Perhaps that was why the Christmas buzz wasn’t quite filling the theatre as much as it could have. But I really believe it’ll get more and more ‘buzz-y’ as Christmas draws nearer. Kudos to the cast for giving their best to invoke the Spirit of Christmas at the start of November!

Dwayne Tan (who reminded me of the earnest Woody from Toy Story), put in a good effort at portraying Junior’s eagerness to make improvements to Santa’s workshop and his lack of belief in the Christmas magic. Junior tried to find practical and logical ways to do things instead of believing in the Christmas magic. It did feel abrupt when he suddenly did believe, but I suppose that has to do with the flow of the story. It was at the end when Junior spoke about what Christmas was really all about that I felt his conviction. That part was quite moving and I felt something stir inside me. I hope the kids felt it too.

Chipper the elf (Seong Hui Xuan) and Junior (Dwayne Tan) flying off to Singapore with Dasher (Benjamin Chow)

Chipper the elf (Seong Hui Xuan) and Junior (Dwayne Tan) flying off to Singapore with Dasher (Benjamin Chow)

I loved Timothy Wan as Grumpo! He made Grumpo evil but endearing, and one of my favourite characters from the show. Grumpo’s plan to corner the toy market and force parents to pay ultra exhorbitant prices for gifts was just wicked and wonderfully innovative, and hopefully that never happens, ha!

But my favourite character has to be Pengy the penguin. Cheryl Tan again put in a fantastic performance. I remembered her from Rapunzel and she further impressed this time around by playing two characters with panache. The boys and I loved the talkative and ever-positive Pengy. Like really loved him. Like really really loved him (watch and you’ll know what I mean). The minute Pengy appeared, the entire show was lifted as Cheryl filled the stage with her presence. It was wonderful how she spoke and sang with different accents for the characters and threw herself into making them believable.

Junior (Dwayne Tan) and Pengy (Cheryl Tan)

Junior and Pengy (Cheryl Tan)

One thing that would make the show even better, I thought, was if the music could be turned down a little, or the volume of the feed from the cast could be increased. It sometimes felt like the music was drowning out the voices of the cast members, particularly those who had voices that weren’t so strong. As a result, I thought it was sometimes difficult for the kids to catch the words of the songs.

The cast of Junior Claus

The cast of Junior Claus

Overall, this is a fun-filled show to bring your kids to this holiday season, and will be a real treat as Christmas gets closer! Although the recommended age is 5 years and above, Ellery, who turns 4 on Christmas day, was able to follow the story and still remembers what was said in the show. I was so surprised to hear him say, two weeks on, that “you don’t have to understand, you just need to believe”. What an appropriate takeaway for Christmas.

Junior Claus is showing at the DBS Arts Centre until 14 Dec 2014. Tickets are available via the SISTIC website and hotline (63485555).

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We received complementary tickets for the show. All opinions are my own.

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